16 May 2019

The story behind our upcoming live album: This is love

Hi everyone. Thank you for all your encouragement and support in getting behind the NewWineWorship albums. Last year’s Restore My Soul was…

Posted in the blog by New Wine

Hi everyone. Thank you for all your encouragement and support in getting behind the NewWineWorship albums. Last year’s Restore My Soul was, I think, the best-selling, or second best-selling New Wine album to date, and I wasn’t on it, which doesn’t bother me at all, in the slightest ;)

I’m so thankful to Chris Lawson Jones, Integrity Music, the band, worship leaders and New Wine family for pulling it all together especially in the light of my sudden illness that took me out of the whole process and meant lots needed to change with very little time to adjust.

I’m so pleased to hear of the songs serving the local church, especially Lauren Harris’s song Restore My Soul. From the moment I first heard it I knew it was special and that it needed to be heard and used wider.

This is the vision: writing and discovering songs that serve churches. This year I think we are another step closer in moving towards this vision. Yes, we want the albums to sound amazing (a huge shout out to Willie Weeks for his amazing work) and great to blast out in your car (please use your indicators and be polite while driving and blasting out the songs for the integrity of the album ;) But, equally, if not more importantly, when you take away the incredible production and musicianship we want the songs to stand alone and serve local churches and be able to be led on just a guitar or keyboard.

It’s been an amazing privilege helping write and collect songs that will do just this for the new album This is love. What I love about this album is that it includes the widest collection of writers we’ve had to date. There’s a stunning song called Until you do written by Esther-Jane White who was an intern at St Aldates Oxford. Be still and Need you now were written out of experiences of pain and loss. We wanted an album that is honest in the ‘how long’ as well as in the ‘hallelujahs’.

We’ve only included two covers on This is Love so it serves better in resourcing the Church and makes more room for our own songwriters who are coming through. I’m so thankful to Mark Vallance who has become a close friend. He brings sweets and crisps to writing sessions. He writes with big chart artists such as Tom Walker, but he is so humble, loves Jesus and comes alive when serving the church in song. This is something I want to continually develop: more discovering, learning from and encouraging writers. However, it’s a privilege to use and lead songs from our wider Christian family that are already serving the worldwide Church and will serve us as a gathered family at United 19.

The title for the album is taken from my song This is love, which I wrote on an Integrity Music writing retreat with Sem Schaap (LIFE Church) and Daniel Cox (The Harmonica Movement) and a new friend David Ostby (somewhere in Norway!). If you’re a songwriter you’ll know that when writing some songs it feels like Jesus will return before the song is finished! Other times, songs just flow out! It was the case of the latter with This is love. We wanted to keep worshipping with it over and over again. I love that it’s Christ and cross-centred and is about our life response to God’s invitation. We never ‘graduate’ or move on from the cross. It’s where we find our hope and freedom, in the crucified, risen, ascended and coming King.

We were also intentional in writing Unto your name as a completely vertical worship song. It’s a song declaring who God is and what he has done and deserves, not what we gain or how we feel. It’s important that our worship is about who God is as well as our own personal expressions and experiences. As Paul Harcourt constantly reminds us, New Wine as a family is about both Word and Spirit not just one or the other. Lastly I love the joy factor that Set a fire and Future bring. They’re songs you can dance to, even dare to play to a teenager who doesn’t go to church (!). They’ll hopefully serve many kids and youth groups and venues as well as many more ‘mature in years’ church gatherings.

As we prayed as a songwriting team there was a sense that these songs would impact people in many ways, in healing, faith and courage. We pray this is the case and that as a family you would own these songs, champion them and use them in your personal and corporate worship.

Thank you as always for your love, support, encouragement and most of all prayer. I can’t wait to see what God does with these songs and I pray they help you lead people in worship.

‘This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters’ (1 John 3:16).

Here’s to a summer of passionate and costly worship where we not only encounter the love of the Father and power of God’s Spirit through Christ but where we embrace and encounter one another as family.

Chris Sayburn is the Head of New Wine Worship. He is a Pioneer Curate at Saint Philips Chapel Street.

This is Love was recorded at St Paul’s Ealing on Saturday 18 May 2019 and will be released at United 19.

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